Namibia: PM Justifies N$6.2b Defence Allocation

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has defended the N$6.2 billion allocated to the ministry of defence, saying civil operations of the ministry directly promote economic growth through their business activities and protection of the country's natural resources.

The PM, while contributing to the budget debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday, said claims that there is overfunding of defence at the expense of social and economic sectors are unfounded and are contradicted by budget figures.

"Defence allocations only enable the force to maintain basic capabilities to fulfil its mandate which is indispensable to safeguard our sovereignty," said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who is also a former finance minister.

She said even more concerning is the characterisation of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) in a manner that seems to aim at eroding the public image of the force.

"Our force has served our country with dedication and professionalism, and they deserve our respect and support. Individual cases of reported misconduct by individual NDF members have always been dealt with, in line with existing legal provisions, and such cases do not warrant the sweeping condemnation of our force," she said.

According to her, the unfounded allegations that there is a militarisation of the State is also unfounded.

"Namibia is a democratic republic, where people's rights are respected and protected, and where governance is based on the rule of law," she said.

Furthermore, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the limited resources available to the country and the uncertainty about the Covid-19 the country is battling require innovation and agile.

"For it is during extreme situations that the best of innovations are made and the boldest transformations are born," said.

"We applaud the initiatives by our tertiary education institutions to develop products to help in the fight against Covid-19. These efforts will continue to be further built on post Covid-19 to promote local production," she said.

The prime minister equally acknowledged the work being done by the ministry of health under the leadership of Dr Kalumbi Shangula and his deputy Esther Muinjangue for their dedicated efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said formulating a budget under the current circumstances is indeed an unenviable job, as there is not only a challenge of high expenditures requirements to address the Covid-19 situation, but the budget is formulated against the background of a very challenging economic environment.

"The budget balances between the need to enable the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic by protecting lives of Namibians and their livelihoods and supporting strategic interventions that position the economy on a high and sustainable growth trajectory, promote employment and communities' welfare and return the fiscal position of government to sustainability," she said.

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